Daryl Hale, Associate Professor


Biography and Interests

Daryl HaleI received a BS degree in Religious Studies in 1973 from Oakland City College in southern Indiana, where I studied some of the great theologians, such as Bonhoeffer, Tillich, and Bultmann. Then I had the grand privilege of laboring for 2 years as a tomato farmer with my grandfather in southern Indiana. After I had saved enough money from farming and factory work, I returned to school for 1 year, and obtained a BA in Philosophy in 1976 from Calvin College, where I had the great fortune of studying Kant with Nicholas Wolterstorff, Modern Philosophy with Pete DeVos, and Contemporary Philosophy with Ed Wierenga, all of whom remain my mentors in practicing and teaching philosophy.

Then I returned to southern Indiana and continued farming with my grandfather for 4 more years, learning much about soil, crops, and human flourishing (again supplemented by other 'paying jobs' so I could continue 'winning the lottery' as a farmer). During this time, I also became like a third son to my uncle, who was a tool-and-die machinist as well as farmer, from whom I learned much about mechanical work and humility in teaching one's craft. Heeding his wise counsel, I decided to try graduate school, first going to U. of Rochester, where I had the great privilege of meeting Lewis White Beck (that great American Kant scholar), Colin Murray Turbayne (witty Berkeley scholar), and Ed Wierenga (Philosophy of Religion), but I decided that UR did not have exactly the mix that I needed.

So in 1981 I moved to Vanderbilt University where I was made at home by a number of great scholar-teachers -- Henry Teloh, who passed on his love for the early Socratic dialogues, suffered through my learning Greek, and generously gave me numerous carpenterial opportunities on his old house; Jeff Tlumak, who dared in a postmodern culture support my passion for Early Modernism, and especially Kant; Michael Hodges, who helped me feign transcendence in Wittgenstein; John Post, who taught me the analytic rigor of non-reductive physicalism; Charles Scott, who allowed me some momentary glimmers into the denseness of Heidegger and Foucault, but through the practical lens of a 'Death and Dying' class; and last but not least, John Lachs, who remains a true believer in my meagre philosophical talents and is still one of the finest examples of a teacher I have been privileged to experience. Overall, the Vanderbilt philosophy experience was just what I needed -- a grand community of passionate scholars and outstanding teachers who were committed to undergraduate and graduate flourishing. One outstanding experience during this period was the presence of Alastair MacIntyre -- his intellectual acuity, impressive defense of Plato & Aristotle, high standards for philosophical argumentation, concerns for students as well as fellow faculty, and exemplary pattern of originality and philosophical insight gently formed faculty and students into a well-rounded community.

I came to Western's Philosophy program in 1992. I greatly enjoy teaching all the History of Philosophy courses (Ancient Philosophy, Medieval & Reformation Theology, and Early Modern Philosophy), where I aspire to inspire students in appreciating the great masters of argument in the philosophical and theological traditions of Westerrn thought. I also designed a new Early Christianity course that provides a historical survey of early Christian thought up through Augustine.

I continue to do carpentry as a summer profession and some weekends during the academic year. I also volunteer in directing carpentry projects for elderly Appalachian residents, such as wheelchair ramps, and working for the local Habitat for Humanity group.